Ryan Lee Cleared of Cheating at London Marathon


Ryan Lee has finally and officially been cleared of cheating in the London Marathon. Below is a summary of the entire ordeal.

On April 24th Ryan Lee ran his first marathon – The London Marathon.

On May 11th it was reported that his results were removed pending an investigation. Ryan’s mum, Elizabeth Lee went to the media for help.

Can you help? Mum scours internet for pictures taken in Greenwich or Charlton to clear ‘gutted’ son accused of cheating in the London Marathon

I saw this article come across my news feed, and quickly posted an article. At that point I did not know whether he cheated or not – I just reported on the story and shared it to see if anyone could come up with an explanation – one way or another.

Included in my original article was video from the telecast that appeared to show Ryan. If that video was indeed Ryan, it would have appeared that he was further up the course than he should have been , had the London timing information been accurate. A reader of the blog identified another runner in the video, and I was able to determine within a couple of minutes when and where the video was taken.

It was then that I first reached out to Elizabeth Lee. In my mind, if she were to confirm that it was Ryan in the video, it would be pretty damning. I shared the video with Elizabeth, and she confirmed it to be Ryan. But, at the same time she shared the fateful photo. This photo was sent to her as a result of the initial story.

The location of the above photo was verified. Google maps confirmed that it was approximately 1.2 miles into the marathon.

By identifying some of the other runners, the approximate time of the photo was confirmed as well.

A statement from the London Marathon said that in order to be re-instated that Ryan must prove he can run a 10k  in just over 1/2 an hour. I received this statement shortly after sending the photo evidence and analysis to London officials. I do believe that the statement was prepared before they had that evidence.

The photo directly contradicted the timing data provided by the London Marathon. At this point I was 100% certain that Ryan did not cheat.  The inital race data showed that Ryan crossed the start line 16 1/2 miutes after the race started. The photo contradicts that.

Photo Evidence Proves Timing Issue in London Marathon Disqualification of Ryan Lee

Ryan’s official times showed that he crossed the start line 10:16:30. That is over 16 minutes after the race started. This data is inaccurate. Ryan likely crossed the start line about 1 to 2 minutes after the gun sounded.
The ‘fast’ 10k time that the marathon wants Ryan to replicate to prove he ran the marathon is based on the calculation from his alleged 16:30 minute delay. He hit the 10 kilometer point at 10:51 am. Accounting for the delayed start, the race thinks he ran the 10k in 34:10. This would be incredibly fast.
However the photo at approximately 1.2 miles into the race shows that Ryan had to have started the race much earlier. He is seen with a runner that started at 10:01. This runner hit the 5k mat at 10:27 am. It would be IMPOSSIBLE for Ryan to be near this runner if Ryan started 15 1/2 minutes after him. Ryan likely crossed the start line between 10:01 and 10:02 am. Crossing the 10k point at approximately 10:51 am, gives him a reasonable 10k time of 50 to 51 minutes
Still, some were not convinced:
But….he DIDNT cross the start line within a couple of minutes of the gun.
A totally unknown runner having never done a race before does the first 10k in 33 minutes ? That’s rather swift.
Lastly, I analyzed the photo to show beyond any realistic doubt that the on course photo was indeed Ryan. Shorts, sweatshirt, shoes, appearence – all matched.

Finally on May 23rd, Ryan’s mum made the announcement, that everyone familiar with the details was expecting:

Social Media can be very powerful. I was happy to help in whatever small way, by sharing and putting together the analysis with the help of some blog readers. I was happy to be able to fight for an honest runner for a change.
But without Elizabeth fighting for her son – and never doubting him, the photo never would have surfaced.
According to Elizabeth, Hugh (The Race Director) said that without her media campaign, they likely would have reached a different conclusion.
Now Ryan has a time (about 15 minutes slower than he was originally credited with), and while he ran the full 26.2 miles, his mum worked every bit as hard as Ryan to earn the finisher’s certificate.
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  1. I would be pretty pissed off if I was Ryan to be forced to go through this ordeal. I hope the race organizers go above and beyond to make things right for Ryan (beyond just saying he finished legitimately).

  2. Fair Enough, I had my doubts but the result is in
    Biggest question now is – What about the 1 million finisher as the person credited with this title is no longer valid

  3. Has there been any discussion on how a chip timing mat could incorrectly have registered a chip 15 minutes after it would have crossed the mat?

  4. That's a great question! My latest message to the marathon has gone unanswered. I am hopeful that the local media will be motivated and able to get an answer to what exactly happened that caused this issue.

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